R. Allen Stanford’s Criminal Trial Over $7 Billion Ponzi Scam Delayed So He Can Detoxify from Medication Addiction

U.S. District Judge David Hittner has postponed the criminal trial of Texas financier R. Allen Stanford so that he can undergo detoxification from his medication addiction. Three psychiatrists had testified that he is incompetent to stand trial after getting hooked on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications.

Stanford, the ex-head of Stanford Financial Group, is accused of running a $7 billion Ponzi scam. He, his companies, and other ex-executives, allegedly bilked investors through Stanford International Bank Ltd’s sale of certificate deposits. Stanford has been indicted on 21 criminal counts of wrongdoing. The US Securities and Exchange Commission also has a Texas securities fraud case against Stanford. Others who were named defendants in that case: Stanford International Bank (SIB), which is located in Antigua, Stanford Group Company (SGC), an investment adviser and broker-dealer located in Houston, Stanford Capital Management, an investment adviser, Stanford Financial Group chief investment officer, Laura Pendergest-Holt, and SIB chief financial officer James Davis.

Stanford has been in federal custody without bail because he is considered a flight risk. According to Stanford’s criminal defense team, prison doctors gave him the meds.

Psychiatrist Victor Scarano, who was retained by Stanford’s team, was among those who testified. He said that for a year Stanford has been taking 3 milligrams of clonazepam daily and that this has caused the 60-year-old to feel drowsy and suffer from lack of energy. He has also had a difficult time concentrating on his tasks. Usually, the normal dosage for this anti-anxiety drug is 1 milligrams a day and for no more than two weeks. Stanford is also taking the anti-depressant mirtazapine.

Scarano contends that Stanford sustained a traumatic brain injury when a prisoner assaulted him in September 2009. The psychiatrist believes that Stanford will need anymore from three to six months to kick his anti-anxiety drug addiction. Meantime, federal prosecutor Andrew A. Warren has suggested that Stanford faked his symptoms.

Prosecutors believe that Stanford can receive the treatment he needs while in federal prison, but Stanford’s criminal defense team wants him hospitalized at a private facility in the Houston area. His lawyers want his criminal trial delayed for two years so that they have enough time to prepare his defense.

Related Web Resources:
Read the SEC’s complaint (PDF)

Judge orders Stanford get drug treatment, Houston Chronicle, January 11, 2011
Financier Is Described as Addicted to Medicine, NY Times, January 7, 2011
Stanford Group. Co., Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 22, 2009
Texas Securities Fraud, Stockbroker Fraud Blog
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